Career motivations don’t get much more poignant than the one offered to a WSU audience this week by Enrique G. Murillo Jr.: “I wanted to be the teacher I never had.”
In addition to teacher, Murillo’s job descriptions have included counselor, social-service worker, community organizer, consultant, lecturer, academic journal editor, researcher, and university instructor. Paula Groves Price — his friend and former student and the WSU faculty member who introduced his Pullman lecture — noted that Murillo is also an historian. While a graduate student, he conducted interviews of Latino immigrants in North Carolina that became the documentary film Cruceros y Caminos.
Araceli Frias adds another descriptor of Murillo: role model. She was among the students who met with him in Pullman, snagging his autograph for her copy of the Handbook of Latinos and Education, which he edited. His scholarly work was the first she’d read that came from an indigenous/Chicano point of view. Araceli is grateful for the breakfast discussion hosted by the Education Graduate Organization.
“The breakfast provided an intimate setting to talk to Dr. Murillo and engage in those scholarly conversations that are hard to come by, especially for Latina/o doctoral students,” says Araceli. “His advice was very helpful and personally meaningful to me because our similar backgrounds are what motivate our line of research.”
Araceli is pursuing a Ph.D. in cultural studies and social thought. She hopes to become a university vice provost for diversity. Murillo, an associate professor at California State University-San Bernardino, also met with undergraduates. Along with classroom tips, he offered them encouragement: “Being a teacher is, I think, the most noble thing you can be in our society.”